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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this in our NJAGC forum and thought I'd share it here too.

11-28-09: I came down to work today to check on the new Oto's in the 150 and decided to clean the 37 gallon tank where my C. usteriana are located. As I dropped the water, I saw a flower bud coming up. I took a few photo's which I'll paste up once I get home and can get them off the camera.

The flower is nowhere near the surface. It is about 4" long at present. I am thinking the disturbance of the roots when Glenn took some out to plant in the 150 shocked them into flowering. I haven't disturbed that substrate in at least 2 years. I also replaced the broken heater in that tank after Glenn pointed out how cold the tank was.

Here's the photo's:





12-7-09: I looked at the tank tonight and see at least three flowers on separate plants and it looks like there may be a fourth coming up.

Now I am thinking of dropping the water level temporarily to get a flower opened to confirm the ID on these plants as C. usteriana. And I am also thinking of trying my hand at pollinating these flowers and trying to get some seeds.

Glenn, would you be able to post a photo of your plants here. I'd like to see what they look like in your tank with higher light than my 1 watt per gallon.

Today's photo's-all hand held without flash so they will be a little blurry.

Full tank shot, look close to see the blooms:









I just checked and found in my records that I purchased these plants in January 2005 from a LFS that purchased them from Aquarium Landscapes. I know I bought some from Aquarium Landscapes directly soon after this. The plants have been undisturbed in a 37 gallon tank since then. Very much a neglected tank. Very seldom fertilized, some fish, very seldom do water changes. The water is kept at Tanganyikan conditions.

I think the recent uprooting of some of the plants to plant in another aquarium, the unnoticed breaking of the heater giving cold water, and the subsequent water changes and new heater all helped to stimulate the flowering.
 

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That's pretty amazing. That will look so cool if those spathes reach all the way up to the top and open up.

I wonder what kinds of bugs pollinate those things out in the wild. It has to be something that flies low right over the water. Isn't it funny to think of a fly or beetle or whatever finding the spathe peaking above the water's surface, then crawling way down below the the water level through that narrow straw to reach the spadix?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I removed 7 gallons of water to the tip of the tallest Spathe tonight. I was thinking of trying to pollinate them but learned I'd need to cut open the kettle. This would mean I'd have to really lower the level, and I am not going to do that.

I think I remember reading somewhere that the bug/beetle/? crawls into the spathe and is trapped for a time inside. It gets coated with pollen and is then released to visit another flower and pollinate it. Anyone else hear of this or can provide a link?
 

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That's pretty amazing. That will look so cool if those spathes reach all the way up to the top and open up.

I wonder what kinds of bugs pollinate those things out in the wild. It has to be something that flies low right over the water. Isn't it funny to think of a fly or beetle or whatever finding the spathe peaking above the water's surface, then crawling way down below the the water level through that narrow straw to reach the spadix?
Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster) along with beetles from the family Nitidulidae are commonly found in collected spathes.

I removed 7 gallons of water to the tip of the tallest Spathe tonight. I was thinking of trying to pollinate them but learned I'd need to cut open the kettle. This would mean I'd have to really lower the level, and I am not going to do that. They are attracted to the carrion smell emitted by most crypt spathes.

I think I remember reading somewhere that the bug/beetle/? crawls into the spathe and is trapped for a time inside. It gets coated with pollen and is then released to visit another flower and pollinate it. Anyone else hear of this or can provide a link?
Yes. That is how they pollinate.The male and female flowers mature at different times. The time for how long a female flower is receptive also varies hence actual success with artificial pollination is less than 10%.

Bhushan
 

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Have you ever detected aromas in your plants' spathes Bhushan? Those ciliata spathes that I had smelled just exactly like pumpkin. It would follow that they could be pollinated by nitidulid beetles, which often go after rotting fruit and are attracted to sweet smells.
 

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Have you ever detected aromas in your plants' spathes Bhushan? Those ciliata spathes that I had smelled just exactly like pumpkin. It would follow that they could be pollinated by nitidulid beetles, which often go after rotting fruit and are attracted to sweet smells.
I have not smelled a C ciliata spathe but a few I have flowered where nothing close to pumpkin like smell. I actually had a hard time trying to associate them with anything I had smelled before. :icon_eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Over the weekend the first spathe died off. I took photo's of the second today.

When I cut open the kettle I could smell almost immediately a pleasant, sweet aroma. I have read that some smell the odor of rotting meat. I didn't get that impression at all.

Here it is above the water:



The spathe after cutting:



The kettle:



The kettle and limb:



Some under microscope, 1/16" divisions:











 
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